Two Services for the Enterprise
Defend your large enterprise with these spam stoppers.
- By Mike Gunderloy
- October 01, 2003
While I was working on this story, I had the chance to talk to numerous vendors whose products didn’t quite fit in with the departmental and corporate focus. Two of these vendors, Tumbleweed and IntelliReach, offer perimeter defenses for large organizations who’d like to stop spam before it gets into their own network. They’re not the only vendors in the field, but their products are representative of the high-end solutions that are out there.
offers its MessageScreen system in several configurations. It’s available
as a hosted off-site solution or as an appliance that you can place at
the edge of your own network. Either way, it acts as an SMTP gateway,
accepting all incoming mail and then deciding which messages should be
allowed to get to your real mail servers. Most customers choose the appliance,
which ships with a set of starting rules that are maintained by IntelliReach.
The customer can also add their own custom rules to tweak the configuration
to match their own mail.
IntelliReach rules use a score-based heuristic approach that considers
the headers, keywords, addresses, and other factors in deciding whether
a message is spam or not. This fall it’s planning on adding a cutting-edge
image recognition module as well, which will actually look at Web-based
images linked to e-mail and determine whether they’re innocuous or not.
Spam messages can be deleted outright or quarantined. Where MessageScreen
stands out is in letting users manage their own quarantined mail. By using
LDAP permissions and a Web-based interface, they make it easy for end
users to double-check the appliance’s spam decisions. The system starts
at $2,500 for 100 users for one year, plus a charge for the appliance
if you decide to go that route instead of using the hosted service.
Tumbleweed Communications (www.tumbleweed.com)
calls its Messaging Management System an “e-mail firewall.” Tumbleweed
also offers hosted and appliance-based solutions; the appliance is a recent
edition to its product line. Its focus is on large enterprises, and it
says that a single gateway can handle dozens or hundreds of back-end Exchange
servers. Its goal is specifically to block unwanted e-mail before it gets
to the Exchange organization.
MMS uses multiple heuristics at the e-mail firewall to recognize spam,
and the company offers new heuristics as a service. These can be automatically
pushed down to the firewall so that your company can largely ignore the
need to tune the filters. Recognized messages can be quarantined, put
into a review queue, or have a message added to the subject line or headers.
The services of MMS extend beyond spam filtering to include virus detection,
secure messaging, and even content filtering that understands common document
formats. Pricing starts at $20,000 per installed CPU for the software
version of the product.
Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.